Whatever happened to MySpace, the social network the teens dominated until Facebook arrived on the scene? The original concept of MySpace allowed the sharing of music, video and news among friends on our own personal wall. Then, MySpace did the unthinkable – they tried to monetize their project just as Facebook arrived on the scene in a big way. The masses jumped ship.
However, Justin Timberlake and his partners Tim and Chris Vanderhook spent $35 million for MySpace and are revamping the former social network. MySpace plans to use original video and to acquire content from studios.
Is it too little, too late? Human nature is to move forward and not backward. In social networking, by the time the retirees (those with both money and time) dominate a market the cutting edge has moved on. In many ways, the interconnectivity that drew 900 million users into Facebook has disintegrated into ads, pointless events, postings of widely circulated quotes and requests for games and likes to increase exposure and revenue.
Like MySpace before us, Facebook’s attempts to monetize the use of its program is alienating the very people it sought to attract. Monetizing the net has not worked. Various experiments in advertising were conducted and revealed that LIKES had no value and that people didn’t respond to coupons or offers on Facebook. While there are those who did succeed, the advertising attempts feel more and more like a pyramid scheme.
With apologies to Sally Field, “They really like me,” had little meaning. While many users were delighted to catch up with people long lost in their lives, how many re-establish a relationship? Is there a social network or is this just some huge electronic bulletin board where we post what we want people to know to balance what others post about us? There are 900 million users in a popularity contest and advertising blitz.
Now that the data mining has resulted in Facebook users being bombarded by ads, some users are experiencing buyer’s remorse in selling their privacy for brief forays into the past and a semblance of relationship while playing games online. Then Facebook changed their format. Users protested, but accepted the changes and moved on. Like most of humanity, users resist change.
Then, in an effort to link like minds or like consumers together, Facebook allowed users to form groups and add whoever they wanted. The notifications were sent and continued to every member whether they wanted to be a part of that group or not. In the sidebar appeared notices of what users were doing, liking, and looking at. Key words in emails soon became targets for advertisers.
Then, Facebook blundered once again by changing everyone’s registered email address to a new Facebook one without asking. For those who synced their phones’ address books to their Facebook account, their address books became worthless. Certainly Facebook tipped their hand as to their desire to force everyone onto their network. However, they did not count upon those who finally opted out of the system. They refuse to be assimilated.
The fallacy is that the Web can be a more profitable advertising medium than traditional media. Facebook’s IPO offering indicated some skepticism for the ability of Facebook to generate advertising dollars despite all of its data mining. Facebook has created an advertising bubble that is perpetuated by naive users seeking to connect, create fan & business pages, be liked, and hence make money.
The incessant tracking of personal habits and searches online have generated new options for private viewing. The users’ tolerance for invasion of privacy is approaching the limits of use. The price for fame is often anonymity. The backlash for Facebook is coming. Users will eventually opt to decide on their own limits and venues of communication. Perhaps Facebook can sell all its data on us to the government while users move on to the next best thing.
- Similia similibus curantur